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The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – October 20, 1988

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195056396 ISBN-10: 0195056396 Edition: Reprint

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The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Oxford Paperbacks) + The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823 + The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"A magnificent work done in the finest tradition of historical scholarship."--C. Vann Woodward, Yale University


"The most eloquent and scholarly book on slavery we now have in English....Here is cross-cultural history at its best."--Virginia Quarterly Review


"A magnificent history of ideas....It will remain a magnificent contribution to intellectual and social history...[and] will be studied for decades to come."--Eugene D. Genovese, Journal of Southern History


"A helpful survey of the origins of the institution and its developments down to the end of the eighteenth century."--The Atlantic


"A large, immensely learned, readable, exciting, disturbing...volume, one of the most important to have been published on the subject of slavery in modern times."--M.I. Finley, The New York Review of Books


About the Author


David Brion Davis is Sterling Professor of History at Yale University and President of the Organization of American Historians. Winner of the Bancroft Prize, the National Book Award, and the Beveridge Award of the A.H.A., he is the author of several books, including Slavery and Human Progress and The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 20, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195056396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195056396
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank S Warner on April 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though this is a scholarly book, it is very readable. What I learned about slavery is that the thinking that perpetuated it for many thousands of years is still with us. Slavery flourished long before Classical Greece. Then Aristotle "reasoned" that some people were meant to be slaves. It became the norm in Western Culture. Most people believed this was just the way the world worked. This view was never seriously challenged until the mid eighteenth century. The book taught me that just because something is a tradition, be it religious or otherwise, does not make it right. It also taught me that the we as a culture have not yet overcome slavery.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderfully informative, and seems to be written as intended: to provide a foundation for understanding slavery in the United States. In this book Davis reveals that the modern notion that American slavery was sui generis can only be maintained by an ignorance of history. Because Davis is not just a historian, but a moral philosopher as well, he examines attitudes toward slavery down through history. Though he does not say so, one can conclude that presence of emancipation and equality as widespread social ideals are unprecedented in history. I look forward to reading the next volume in Davis's trilogy on the problem of slavery.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Barrie W. Bracken on September 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
THIS IS A GREAT BOOK IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE SUBJECT OF SLAVERY AND ANTI-SLAVERY. THE AUTHOR, WITHOUT QUESTION ONE OF OUR GREATEST HISTORIANS OF THE SUBJECT, GOES BEYOND THE ARTIFICIAL LINE OF THE CALANDER IN RELATION TO OUR CIVIL WAR AND OFFERS AN INSIGHTFUL VIEW OF THE EFFECT OF SLAVERY IN THE PERIOD LEADING UP TO THE FOUNDING OF OUR COUNTRY. tHIS IS A GREAT BOOK FOR THE SERIOUS STUDENT, NOT FOR THE CASUAL READER.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Karon on March 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
As other reviewers say, this scholarly book emphasizes intellectual history and attitudes (including Christian justification) toward slavery. The author describes the beliefs of Greek philosophers most of us will never have heard of, writings of English, French, and German philosophers, justifications for slavery in the bible, justifications based on Christian beliefs. He traces the gradual development of abolitionist thought. The author will refer back to a philosopher or person whose beliefs were mentioned chapters ago, with only a very brief summary of those beliefs. He provides very limited information on legislation related to slavery and the actual conduct of slavery, but information on African practices leading to the taking and selling of slaves is interesting. Thus, this book is written for historian scholars, not for the average reader. It perhaps should be noted that the primary coverage is the period to approximately 1775, with a few references to later events; later books in this series cover the later period.
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9 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Schmerguls VINE VOICE on April 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This work won the 1967 Pulitzer prize for general non-fiction. Since other winners of that prize, e.g., The Guns of August(in 1963), The Making of the President, 1960,(in 1962--the first Pulitzer in this category) The Rising Sun (in 1971), and The Making of the Atomic Bomb (in 1988) have been very enjoyable reads, I decided to read this work. The topic is of interest,, but the author grubs in pre-1776 writing a lot, and I did not find I was caught up in the subject, important tho it is. The treatment is deep in theory, and intellectual history, and while at times this has interested me, I could not find myself enamored by the book--which is a reflection on me, not on the very erudite author.
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The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Oxford Paperbacks)
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